Passage 2 – Saving Soil and Cropland

1. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.

  • A. The 1930s Dust Bowl was a revolutionary event that threatened to destroy United States agriculture by turning the Great Plains into a vast desert.
  • B. The 1930s Dust Bowl in the united States resulted in radical changes in agricultural practices aimed at reducing wind erosion, such as the planting of tree shelterbelts.
  • C. Tree shelterbelts, which are often used in the Great Plains area, are made up of the trees that are planted in long rows beside agricultural fields.
  • D. Of all the innovative techniques used to control wind erosion after the 1930s Dust Bowl, only tree shelterbelts proved effective.

Paragraph 1

The world’s farmers are literally losing ground on two fronts—the loss of soil from erosion and the conversion of cropland to nonfarm uses. Both are well-established trends that reduce agricultural output, but since both are gradual processes, they are often not given the attention they deserve.

Paragraph 2

The 1930s Dust Bowl that threatened to turn the United States Great Plains into a vast desert was a traumatic experience that led to revolutionary changes in American agricultural practices, such as the planting of tree shelterbelts—rows of trees planted beside fields to slow wind and thus reduce wind erosion. Perhaps the most lasting change is strip cropping, the planting of crops on alternate strips with fallowed (not planted) land each year. This permits soil moisture to accumulate on the fallowed strips, while the planted strips reduce wind speed and hence the wind erosion on the idled strips. The key to controlling wind erosion is to keep the land covered with vegetation as much as possible and to slow wind speed at ground level.


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